How to Set Up Delivery Service Effectively for a RestaurantOn December 17, 2020 by Sarah Wells
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more restaurants are switching to online orders via laptop and mobile app in order to get customers the food they crave while staying in business and staying compliant with local restrictions surrounding restaurants. This switch has required agility and quick thinking on the part of restaurants, and, thankfully, a COVID-19 vaccine has offered a light at the end of the tunnel. That being said, it’s hard to guess how consumer behavior will change after such a massive switch, so it’s likely that you’ll still need an online order system moving forward, even without as many restrictions on how you operate your restaurant.
Delivery service is much more complicated to set up than it used to be, thanks to the internet. At the same time, even though delivery has become more complex because of so many platforms available to restaurants and customers, the internet also simplifies delivery service a bit, too. Whether you’re new to offering delivery for your restaurant amidst the latest, frightening, wave of coronavirus cases, or are just auditing your setup to ensure that you have a good workflow, here are a few tips and tricks to consider when setting up your restaurant for online delivery.
1. Find an ordering platform that simplifies things for you.
As was alluded to earlier, one of the major obstacles to restaurateurs looking to expanding their online ordering capabilities is the fact that there are so many different online ordering systems on the market. Customers are likely to have a favorite or go-to mobile app to handle their delivery order, which can result in a tangled POS system if you offer delivery through a variety of online ordering platforms. This can become even more complex if you let customers reserve outdoor seating through an online ordering platform, too. Thankfully, there are ordering platforms that simplify the entire process for you and your POS system.
The right online ordering system for restaurants offers you all of the tools you need to manage reservations and online orders with ease. Whether you have customers ordering through ChowNow, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Doordash, or another popular platform, an ideal system can consolidate and integrate your POS with all of these platforms. This significantly streamlines your workflow, since instead of toggling between ChowNow, Uber Eats, and Doordash apps in order to find delivery or carry out orders, you have everything in one unified platform that can help you better understand what options your customers use most often and where your revenue is coming from.
2. Take plenty of high-resolution photos to show off your menu.
If you’ve ever thought about trying something new at a restaurant only to not be able to see it first, you understand how important photographs are to making a sale. This is especially true with so many customers ordering online since they’re far more likely to order a menu item if they can see photographs of what it looks like first. That being said, having high megapixel digital photos with the right image quality for social media, your website, and your various online ordering platforms can take up a lot of space. If you don’t want to mess around with an external hard drive for your digital photos since you don’t want to have to connect your hard drive every time you’re looking for new photos to swap out, it might be worth looking into a cloud-based digital picture storage device.
The right cloud-based digital photo storage solution offers a host of benefits for busy restaurant owners during the pandemic. For starters, many cloud-based options have lots of storage space, including enough space for storing and accessing high-resolution promotional videos. Another benefit of these sorts of devices is the opportunity to integrate the platform with your mobile device and social media accounts without taking out a memory card and putting it in a different device. Being able to take a high-quality photo with your Google Pixel or iPhone and then immediately have it stored on the cloud can really help your bottom line by freeing up your time to focus on more pressing matters than switching memory cards. Especially if you’re worried about having the bandwidth to organize your media in so many places, these sorts of devices can be a real lifesaver.
3. Don’t count on mobile data to stay connected to Wi-Fi.
Some restaurants have considered switching to mobile data on their phones and mobile apps in order to manage their POS and online ordering and save money on the monthly cost of having an in-house router. That being said, even though this is a creative solution to save costs, the internet connection provided by your internet service provider is much faster and more reliable. In other words, it’s much more worth the monthly fee than you think, especially when online ordering necessitates a wireless connection with a faster speed. You can learn more about why your WiFi is faster and your connection speed is better via Wi-Fi than with mobile data online, but the gist of the situation is that there are far fewer factors influencing the speed of a dedicated internet router than on your smartphone. As such, whether you’re using a WiFi router or ethernet, if your business is counting on orders from Doordash, Chownow, and Uber Eats in order to survive, it’s a good idea to invest in a reliable internet service provider.
4. Have a storage solution for your delivery containers.
One thing many restaurateurs don’t think about is having enough space for their employee’s belongings in their restaurant while handling an influx of new customers and takeout orders. Put simply: even though you may not be needing to configure your restaurant for indoor dining because of COVID-19, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be keeping your employees safe by appropriately arranging things in your restaurant. This might mean that you’re sacrificing some storage space if you have a small restaurant, in which case it may make sense to look into self-storage options.
Of course, there are plenty of pros and cons to consider when looking at different storage space solutions. As you weigh the pros and cons, it’s a good idea to actually think about which pros matter the most to the longevity of your business and which cons are likely to threaten your ability to serve new customers. For example, a central location definitely lands itself in the pros column; however, if you have a staff member who commutes to work close to that storage unit, it doesn’t necessarily matter if the storage unit isn’t in close proximity to your restaurant. This is how changing your perspective could turn one of your cons into something that doesn’t matter as much, ultimately making it so that you can save money on a unit and broaden the sorts of storage spaces you’re looking at.
That being said, if you want the best deals on storage space, you’ll want to look local. Even if you can save money by going to a nearby city to store your delivery containers and bags, that sort of commute will waste your pressure time and money in the form of gas and employee hours. As such, it’s always best to look for self storage in San Antonio or wherever you’re located. This ensures that you don’t wind up cutting corners that actually end up costing you more in the long-term.
COVID-19 has upended how restaurants do business over the last year, and it doesn’t look like online sales are going anywhere anytime soon, even with a vaccine. As such, it’s crucial to have a plan for handling carryout and delivery orders even past the pandemic. The above tips will help you stay in good standing regardless of the state of the world.